tv [untitled] August 20, 2011 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
together, those add up to 100 units of local coverage, and that is not counting all the new stock that venture capitalists like we fund in the jungle all the time. this is at some level deflowering of local journalism that happen because it is cheap to be in business now. you do not have to have a big printing press and truckers and unions and all those things. you can be right in the business in a way that was impossible in the last 25 years. i think there is a flowering going on of local journalism and lots of capital chasing that opportunity right now. >> would you agree with that? when you look at local news, do you think it is being covered well by the sources that were just cited? >> i think in the san francisco area that is true. that is probably not true in all areas, but we are seeing with the development of patch and many other high for local news sites that there is a rebirth of coverage of local news -- and
many other hyperlocal news sites. >> i was a foreign correspondent for a number of years. many freelances like myself have kind of jumped out of the business as it has steadily declined. my question is, on the sustainability side, as well in america over the last decades -- and it is an old story, and we have been hearing it for many years. people like paul krugman have been trying to get us to realize how well has been so concentrated in such a small group of folks. what strategies could be used to attack this minority of individuals in a way that
foundations and charities did in the past? if we had a few people, and quite a number of them at an immense amount of wealth, why are we not having them at the new macarthur foundation's and the people who will finance this community journalism? there should be a way of strategy and a mindset where they can help reduce the public interest journalism of the future -- help produce the public interest journalism of the future. >> you are seeing that from some of the wealthy. you have bill gates doing fantastic things. msn and msnbc sprang from microsoft. rupert murdoch, for all the criticism he gets, is invested in the media and innovation. mike bloomberg is doing a ton of stuff through his company. they are hiring hundreds of
people. i worked at bloomberg 15 years ago, and i was in europe as a foreign correspondent. there were 40 journalists, and now, there are thousands. i think it depends on the interests of certain people, but they are being tapped, and you can get them to lend to foundations and do this type of stuff. it is just creating the bridge from the journalism world into that world, and it is not as hard as you would think, in my experience. >> i would just say that a few of those individuals you had mentioned are not examples of the types of progress of journalism that i think a lot of people are here to talk about and listened of route -- was it about. these guys are kind of villains in a sense of where we want journalism to go. fox news and the daily, who knows where that is going to go, but they are not necessarily public-interested, public radio,
public tv, public press minded people. >> that is an opinion that has probably been ill-served in my opinion, having worked in two of those companies and seen the dedication that they give to journalism. everyone has their opinion of fox news, right? rupert also owns "the australian." he owns the "wall street journal." bloomberg sprung from nowhere to create progress of journalism online. i will respectfully disagree on that. >> thinking about california watch, we feature them regularly, and they are doing excellent investigative work. is anyone familiar with those, and can you talk about the success and where you see that going? do you think that we will see more of these kinds of outlets?
>> i think that paying for news journalism and especially for news journalism with a variety of political agendas, historically in san francisco, was paid for by real estate and automotive and help-wanted advertising. it was not paid for by the circulation nichols of the subscribers. if you think about government- boned journalism compared to the rich, benevolent owner boulders of journalism or the public opening of journalism, i think there is a time now where you do not need quite as much funding as ever, but some of the people who today are seen as barron's -- barons started off with a pretty defined journalistic crusade in their mind, and most of the time in their own minds, it was progressive.
i think that the dollars are more available than ever for people with an agenda, but the ability to spot the quality voices is a little bit harder now that they are so numerous. >> there will always be a market for investigative journalism. i do not know that it is the type of financial journalism that was referred to before, but i think that there will always be people willing to also spend the time to listen to that type of reporting or even to read it online. there is no doubt that investigative journalism will continue to flourish. simply as a longer format journalism. yes, i think that that makes a lot of sense in terms of what
the audience wants, and it is probably what is also defined as for aggressive journalism. i think we should probably define our terms. what does that really mean? how is bloomberg doing progress of journalism? we may be thinking about different definitions of what that is. i'm not sure if the segue from that into investigative journalism made a lot of sense to most people's thinking in terms of how that is defined. >> have another question? >> i am a local free-lance journalist here. a couple of years ago, i had a friend. we were trying to figure out the feasibility of starting a nonprofit journalism in denver, and i remember coming across this corporate structure that i believe vermont, maybe one other state, uses in the country, but it is called a low profit limited liability company, and
it is a structure that is meant to allow for profit but also to allow for tax-exempt status for donations. i found it really interesting. i found it surprising that other states did not have a similar model. this could also be a model to help budding companies in the future by allowing them more flexibility in how they acquire financing. i'm curious how many of you on the panel are familiar with this type of model and also, i guess this would be directed towards beye -- senator yee, how difficult it would be to bring this model to california. thank you. >> relative to establishing a new financial instrument or a new financial business, it is
possible -- i think the question is what is the need for, what is the support for it, and who might be able to carry a bill to allow the to have been. i think one of the selling points is if in fact this new financial structure can be an impetus for new businesses that would generate jobs. i think you are going to hear a welcome applause for something along those lines. not something that i have heard of, but clearly, something that one can look at, and my office will look into that. >> has anybody heard of that kind of model? no? >> [inaudible] >> our panelists that we have not spoken with yet. why don't you talk about marginalized communities? the one complaint i hear from people about the corporate media is that they go to the same
sources over and over again. libya is a great example. has anybody heard from a libyan in the last month? right? an iraqi? an afghan? they go to the same people here wiretapping, torture, twitter not being taxed in san francisco. you are an expert on everything. why don't you talk about what you do to bring in those voices? >> thank you. we talk about how we work with different communities, but i wanted to talk a little bit about the state of online media and really get specific when we are talking about communities because that is not one monolithic market. in san francisco, oakland where we do business, and all the different pockets of the bay area, there are tons of different communities that we all serve, and we have to understand the nuances and difficulties of each particular community because we cannot continue to talk about them as if they are all the same. online community market in oakland is pretty robust.
they all struggle with audience, and these are folks that actually served the people that have not been traditionally served by corporate media, and we still have to deal with how we work with these communities, how we let them know that we have their backs and they are the ones we are focusing on because they are so used to being left out of the general marketplace. from a business perspective, how do we target those folks and let them know that they are the community we are focusing on? and also, how do you turn that into a profitable business model, not because we want to be rich, but because we have to pay the bills and make sure we can go to work the next day? that is the question we deal with on a regular basis. we are doing that partially through partnerships with some of the people on the panel, but also through social media training, through diversity
training, through actual media and informal conversation. we do a lot of meat ups. we have opened offices pretty much 24/7. we really need to lower the barriers of entry between community media, between media professional, and media in disease, and media consumer. by doing that over the last year-and-a-half, we have started to see a lot more community by and, in the community coming to us from south -- for stories, but you have to recognize that they are a diverse community, that they are someone who might have been left out of the usual media stream, and let them know that you understand that, and they will slowly open up to you. >> he is the co-founder of the oakland local. >> i'm going to play devil's advocate a little bit here. you cover your local community. do you feel at all, as a non-
profit, a bit -- dare i say -- not threatened, but some kind of competition has come in from the big boys? you were having a nice conversation earlier. i listen in. do you see yahoo! going local, for example, as a plus, or do you see them as competition? how did you see that? >> first, full disclosure, yahoo! is a content partner for oakland local. they distribute our content on their website. there is some back and forth. some people are wondering what the corporate industries are going to do in a hyperlocal space. i do think there is space for everyone to work together. one of the questions i'm interested in hearing about is whether the corporate entities are interested in working with
local entities. we have been working with oakland for the last year-and-a- half, and i have a background in oakland activism, and it has still been difficult for us to get headway as an organization. that kind of community involvement takes a 24/7 kind of commitment. that is slightly different than the commitment it takes to run a yahoo! new site. i'm interested in with the challenges will be, but i'm much more interested in what the opportunities will be. if we keep saying in our own spaces and not asking how we work together, there will be a problem. right now, we have the opportunity to come to the table and ask how we work together. in another two or three years, i did not think we will have that opportunity. >> how do you deal with those challenges in the mandarin and cantonese communities? then i can anthony just respond to that? he wanted to respond to that. >> more like build on what was being said, which was that
actually, what we decided to build for local at yahoo! was an open platform. that is why oakland local is a partner of ours. we realized that it is not in our interests to hire somebody in every neighborhood. what we said was why don't we build a platform on which the myriad of local content providers that have begun to spring up can ride, and the key here is that they are looking for distribution. even patch is looking for distribution, and one thing yahoo! has is distribution. when yahoo! provides you with a platform, you see it. publishers recognize that it is a fire hose. so we launched in october 30 neighborhoods. we are now up to about 400 neighborhoods in new york, san francisco, san jose, peninsula, a detroit suburb, and chicago.
we are going to be launching in cleveland and dallas, end of april/early may, and as we iterate on product, we will get better, but the idea is that it is open, and it allows for publishers to publish their content on the platform, people to actually communicate and for dissipate on the platform, and for the original content if you want to do that. the exact reason that you mentioned, which is yahoo! is not going to know oakland better than oakland local, so why not have them be the voice, and we provide carriage for distribution? >> [inaudible] >> [inaudible] challenges described, and are they similar in your community? >> we broadcast news on a seven-
day basis. one hour of cantonese news and one hour of mandated -- one hour of mandarin is. challenges are daunting and hard to overcome here in the past, we were protected by our own language. we are the only game in town. but once you are online, that advantage will go away very quickly because those people will go on line -- everybody is your competitor. even if you have your language, there are hundreds of thousands of chinese websites. how do you overcome that? there is no silver bullet. for me, i think the right thing to do is really build up your community. you empower your community. the part of your community, and people -- it is not the you have a story that only i reported it,
which is great, but it is not going to happen every day. so what do you give your audience for your readers to keep them coming back to your site or tv station to try to find the news they want? it is really up to how you feel your community -- how you connect and go into your community, make your voice known, make my face known to my community. i think once you establish that, it is very hard to break it down. i think the key for us is really to even further build up our connection with all kinds of community service, public service. have the community overcome the tragedy. that kind of stuff we are confident doing. i have no answer, but this is the way i think we may be going. coming back to the previous discussion before we entered the room, if there is only one
thing i can deal with -- right now, everybody is doing thousands of day, but if there is only one thing i can do today, what is that thing that i want to do? with relation to my job. i want to make one you're happy seeing my report, seeing my stories on our channel. if i can do that one at a time, i think we are doing great. >> i used to write for the "palo alto daily news" which was at the time something called a hyperlocal newspaper. was very successful at the time. my question is this comment about 100 possible news sites in san francisco, low cost of entry, low barriers come easy to use tools, no union, on a non. i wonder if the diffusion of interest of so many places is going to essentially always make
it impossible for a single place to be financially viable on its own and impossible for professional journalism to exist, as in people can make a living wage as a journalist. if there are so many easy ways of getting so much news out that no single place can actually exist financially. i do not have a particular person. >> it is a great question. when i joined marketwatch 12 years ago, we had a free-lance rate of $300 per story, which was viewed as semi-obscene by people who wrote for newspapers or magazines, which will often pay several thousand dollars for a peace, and thinking part of it was we did not have a lot of money. part of it was stories had a much shorter shelf life than something on a magazine, and over the course of 12 years, we have gradually climbed about
$500 as we made more money and brought in a stronger stable of writers. people right now for the huffington posts are getting something like $15. the market has really degraded from even their, and it is very difficult to make money doing that. i have friends who are doing it, who are writing 10 stories a day just to get by. at the same time, the proliferation does make it very difficult for one small site to exist, right? our strategy in the old days was to align ourselves with a big media company -- cbs. we align ourselves with yahoo! in some way and with ail -- aol in another way. you need the types of connections with more established or at least larger
players in order to survive. the other reason is that the proliferation of sites has caused a change in the way people get their news. no longer do they just go to what we call destination sites, which was essentially a newspaper online. they are getting their news on facebook and google and bing and search engines. to be out there in that news sphere, you have to have different ways of attacking a and having connections and distribution arrangements. >> i would like to add that proliferation of new sites creates more demand for content, which creates more opportunity for professional writers. before you think about going into news as a business as an independent publisher, you have to think about what the need is, if there is a need in that particular space for another site, and then how you
distinguish yourself and the content you provide. i wanted to go back to the question about the funding investments in journalism. i have to agree with the gentleman who raised the issue that there does not seem to be a lot of appreciation and investment at this stage, but in journalism, our center is funded by the knight foundation, one of a handful of organizations supporting this kind of transition of traditional journalism into this new age. we have begun to look at funding from other organizations, and there seems to be an interest in a particular handful of topics, including investigative reporting, business reporting, but there is a greater need for training in journalism to get journalists to understand this new environment we are working in, and also to educate the broader public about the need
and public good that journalism serves and why it warrants investment from private investors as well as non-profit organizations. >> to the question about the huge influx of new sites, i think it is partially a question of scale. for example, i do not know -- i know very few hyper local sites that have full staff, but i know tons of individual bloggers who get paid to blog, and that is all they do, but they only focus on small, really targeted niches. this could be the mission district in san francisco. a friend of mine only focuses on concord conservative, right- wing politics. i think you really have to know your audience. you have to know specifically
what your niche is. and do not just look at yourself as reporters. look at everything that you have to offer, all of your skills, and see how you can serve the community better. one of the things we see is we do not think any time soon that just advertising is going to pay the bills, but we see a huge need for social media training, for people to learn how to do things online, and that is becoming just as much of a needed skill as an ad posted on our side bar. we want to serve oakland specifically, and we have taken all of our skills collectively to see how we stay afloat doing that. >> we have a number of people wanting to ask you questions, so go ahead. >> in the 1800's, charles dickens wrote a novel about his trip to america called "martin chuzzelwit."
he mentioned his exposure to newspapers. we know that the "new york times" is biased. we know that the "economist" is biased. "wall street journal" is now horribly bias. we kind of adjust our lenses here when you read online and you do not know the person is, it is difficult to know whether it is legitimate or not. newspapers eventually disappear and are no longer published in print, so they are just competing with everyone else. how do we establish -- how do we know -- how to newspapers establish credibility? i saw this news reporter who put a piece on youtube about gavin newsom just walking away.
so how did these organizations establish credibility? how are people able to see the problems with bias that will never come up? there is also a problem with advertisers, backers. a millionaire putting $500,000 or $1 million into a newspaper, and he will expect something in return. he may not want his coverage to be negative. so there are all these things. i wondered if anybody had any general comments about those. >> that is a really difficult problem. if we think about the way we understand journalism today, it really is an historical aberration.
that is not cutting back. we had objective journalism, which created shared narratives, but the truth is what we only saw was the narrative from a particular perspective. now, we have chaos. i'm not saying that is not a problem, but on the other hand, we need to think about the fact that we have a lot more voices and a lot more information, and we need to develop citizens that understand not only how to read a news story and understand it, but also know how to tell a story, understand how fact work, how confirmation works, how non- fiction story telling works. that is a big challenge. we also need to develop procedures within the community of journalism in the new media that are as thoroughgoing and
really comprehensive about the nature of the practice of journalism for the new media as they were in the newsroom, say, 20 years ago. >> i think one answer to the question of how we police bias, at least on line, is that online news is a conversation, right? that is one thing that is great about it. when you are talking about a piece that runs on line -- online that people can immediately start commenting about, people can start talking immediately about whatever biases they have identified, and the writer can jump in and start defending the position. that is not possible in print. i think there's a sort of built in keeping-people-honest-ness about the medium. we want to report fairly at patch